Overview of Implant Placement

The Dental Implant Surgical Procedure

Dr. Pitcher uses Image Guided Surgery to make surgery minimally invasive which also results in greater accuracy and precision to your treatment. The number of appointments and time required, vary from patient to patient, but typically involves a visit for consultation and treatment planning prior to implant placement.

Placement of dental implant can be completed under local anesthesia to numb the area, but can also be performed under nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or intravenous sedation. These options are discussed with you at your consultation appointment.

When you are comfortable, the surgeon makes a small incision in the gum tissue to reveal the bone, creates space using special instruments, and gently inserts the titanium implant. After the surgery is complete, your surgeon may suture the gum to cover the implant or place a healing abutment which will be visible through the gumline.

A depiction of the upper jaw with all normal teeth
1. Normal
An example of the upper jaw missing a tooth with the jaw bone unhealed
2. Tooth Loss
An representation of a healed upper jaw bone after loosing a tooth
3. Healed Bone
An digital representation of the initial dental implant placed in the jaw bone
4. Implant Placed
A representation of the healed jaw bone after placement of the dental implant
5. Healing
An example of a fully restored tooth using a dental implant
6. Implant Restored

Healing after Dental Implant Surgery

The length of time varies from person to person, depending upon the quality and quantity of bone. In some cases, implants may be restored immediately after they are placed. The surgeon will advise you on follow-up care and timing. After the initial phase of healing, the surgeon places an abutment (support post) or a healing cap onto the dental implant during a brief follow-up visit. This allows gum tissue to mature and provides access to the implant.

How long your mouth needs to heal is determined by a variety of factors. Follow-up care is usually needed to ensure that your mouth is healing well and to determine when you are ready for the restorative phase of your treatment.

It may be beneficial to perform a soft tissue graft to obtain stronger, more easily cleaned and natural appearing gum tissue in the area around the implant. This process involves moving a small amount of gum tissue from one part of your mouth to the area around the implant. Most often, it is a brief and relatively comfortable procedure.

Whether it’s one tooth or all of your teeth that are being replaced, your dentist will complete the restoration by fitting the replacement tooth (crown) to the dental implant.

When are dental implants placed?

Implants are often placed a few months after extraction. At times, an implant may be placed immediately after extraction of a tooth. This may involve a little more risk, but it simplifies the process since you won’t have to wait for another appointment to place the implant. When infection or other problems with the bone are present, immediate implant placement may not be the best treatment option.

If your tooth has been missing for some time, the adjacent support bone is likely to grow thinner and shrink. This occurs because the root of the natural tooth has to be present to stimulate the bone. As much as 25-33% of your jaw’s thickness can be lost in the year following tooth extraction. If you are missing enough bone, you may benefit from having additional bone grafted into the area. This ensures the implant will be adequately supported when it is placed in the jaw.

How many implants do I need?

Most frequently, one implant per missing tooth is placed. Because many of the larger teeth in the back of your jaws have two or three roots, the most common approach is to replace missing back teeth with larger implants.